First announced at the end of June, today Olympus delivered the final specifications and pricing for its most compact interchangeable-lens camera, the E-PM1. Though at $499.99 it's the least expensive of Olympus' 2011 models, two of the first-generation models, the E-PL1 and E-P1, remain in the product line at the same price. There's no doubt that the PM1 is the smallest and lightest of the group, though.
Though ILCs may be the more interesting enthusiast cameras, the more popular market seems to be compact, fixed-lens models, such as the Canon PowerShot S95 and Nikon Coolpix P7000. Olympus forges into that market with its XZ-1, a promising-looking model that's not quite as compact as the S95, but with an exceptionally fast f1.8 lens and a sleek design that rivals models like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 in size and operation.
Its photo quality falls short of excellent, though. While the JPEG processing is a problem, it seems like the images don't come off the sensor clean … Read more
To me, one of the defining characteristics of a mirrorless ILC--like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 or Olympus PEN E-P3, just to name two recent ones--aside from the interchangeable lens, is that it produces better photos than a point and shoot. As far as I can tell, people see the lens flexibility as a bonus, but for the extra couple hundred dollars they want better photos.
Which is why I'm confused by the trend toward even smaller sensor sizes in this space as evidenced by Pentax's Q with its 5.5x multiplier and the rumored forthcoming 2.7x-multiplier size from Nikon. (As an aside, I find the easiest way to internalize differences in sensor sizes is by the multipliers and assume that pixels shrink correspondingly. For a comprehensive visualization, check out this Sensor Size Cheat Sheet.)
Some people complain that even the Four Thirds sensor (2x), which uses the Micro Four Thirds mount in Panasonic and Olympus' ILCs, is too small. … Read more
Is a really long lens packed into a small camera body a good thing? We shall see, as today Olympus announced the 14-megapixel SP-810UZ, a megazoom camera measuring 4.2 inches by 2.9 inches by 2.9 inches with an ultrawide-angle f2.8-5.6 24-864mm lens, or a 36x zoom.
Though some may consider this a bridge camera simply because of its lens, I don't because it lacks semimanual and manual shooting modes. In fact, Olympus boasts that its lack of "time-consuming manual settings...frees you to concentrate on your subject." The 810UZ is full of scene modes and a scene-recognition auto mode as well as 10 Magic Filter creative modes: Pop Art, Pinhole, Fisheye, Drawing, Soft Focus, Punk, Sparkle, Watercolor, Reflection, and Miniature. The camera also captures HD 720p-resolution movies at the touch of a button.
There's a 3-inch LCD on back for framing your shots, but to keep the camera small there is no viewfinder. Here's hoping its image stabilization is top notch because keeping that lens steady when fully extended won't be easy.
Estimated street price will be $329 when it hits stores in September. … Read more
About a month ago Olympus announced its PEN interchangeable-lens (ILC) lineup for the rest of the year, and has been dribbling out the specs and cameras. The latest info to come out is for the E-PL3, the line's midrange model, which is designed to be more compact than the higher-end E-P3 but with a similar feature set and performance. Here are the complete specs, along with those of some direct competitors:
Olympus E-PL2 Olympus E-PL3 Olympus E-P3 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Sony Alpha NEX-C3 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sensor (effective resolution) 12.3-megapixel Live MOS 12.3-megapixel Live MOS 12.… Read more
Before you can say "holiday shopping," Olympus will unleash three new interchangeable-lens models into its PEN lineup. Of the three models, only one is truly real at the moment: the top-of-the-line replacement for the E-P2, the just-reviewed E-P3, which is scheduled to ship in August. The other two are what Olympus refers to as "concept" announcements, although Olympus' concepts tend to be a lot further along than most. What it usually means is that they lack complete specifications, pricing, and ship dates, and that any actual models tend to be hand-built samples for photography. They are … Read more
Last year's Olympus point-and-shoot lineup was filled with a few too many also-ran cameras. Its 2011 models so far seem much more competitive. Case in point, the newly announced SZ-30MR: a somewhat compact megazoom featuring a 24x, f3-6.9 25-600mm lens (35mm equivalent), a 3-inch high-resolution LCD, dual image processors, and 16-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor.
Judging by the press release, this camera does many of the things I've come to expect from a camera with a BSI CMOS sensor. Those include easy, one-press in-camera panoramas; high-speed burst at up to 9 frames per second at full resolution; and … Read more
Long lenses sell cameras these days and, well, the 14-megapixel Olympus SZ-10 has one. The camera starts at 28mm and extends to 504mm (35mm equivalent). That's an 18x zoom in body that's only 1.5 inches thick for $249.99.
To put that in context, last year's 12-megapixel Olympus SP-600UZ had a 15x, f3.5-5.4, 28-420mm-equivalent lens, was 3-inches thick, and started at the same price. The SZ-10 is smaller, has a newer TruePic III+ image processor developed from Olympus' digital SLR processors, and a larger, higher-resolution 3-inch LCD. Without testing it I can't say … Read more
The new ranges of compact digital cameras from Olympus and Panasonic got a shot in the arm with the announcement today of future lenses from two prestigious German lens makers, Carl Zeiss and Schneider Kreuznach lens maker Jos. Schneider Optische Werke, along with Horseman lens maker Komamura from Japan.
Panasonic and Olympus got the camera industry fixated on a new range of compact ILC (interchangeable-lens camera) models that dispense with SLRs bulk by leaving behind the internal reflex mirror and viewfinder. To go with their cameras, the companies came up with a new lens standard, Micro Four Thirds, a cousin … Read more
For its latest addition to the PEN ILC line, Olympus makes a few design and feature enhancements to its E-PL1 Micro Four Thirds camera, resulting in the subtly--but not significantly improved, E-PL2.
The most obvious functional differences include a larger LCD, multiple variations for come of the Art Filters, support for the new accessory connector and redesign of the buttons. It also supports an extra stop of sensitivity, up to ISO 6,400.Olympus E-PL1 Olympus E-PL2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 Samsung NX100 Sony Alpha NEX-3 Sensor (effective resolution) 12.3-megapixel Live MOS 12.3-megapixel Live MOS 12.1-megapixel Live … Read more